The power of artists is undeniable. We are fortunate that so many Latino artists have used their gifts to shine a light on the injustices, events and political climate of their time. The Latino artists listed here use their talents to advocate for causes or simply catalyze thought. Their art is their activism. It serves as a chronicle to the times they lived (or live) in.
Jara was a Chilean folksinger turned folkhero. He was a teacher, singer, theater director and political activist. He achieved international fame when his music reached America in the 1970s. Jara songs promoted peace, love and awareness of the class struggles. “Preguntas por Puerto Montt” is a famous song critiquing the Chilean government’s use of police brutality. His work helped cement Chile’s “nueva cancion” folk music.
Jara’s song, “Venceremos” became a political anthem used by Chile’s President Salvador Allende. A military coup by Augosto Pinochet overthrew Allende’s socialist government in 1973. Jara’s on the ground support and defiant songs made him a target for Pinochet’s torture. He met his end in Santiago’s soccer stadium but not before writing a poem (“Estadio Chile”) about the experience that was smuggled out to the world.